The U.S. House passed H.R. 3409 – the Coast Guard Authorization Act, with funding for the Coast Guard and Federal Maritime Commission through 2021. According to the office of U.S. Congressman Don Young, the measure has several Alaska-specific provisions supported by Congressman Young. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
Alaska-specific provisions supported by Congressman Young in this legislation include:
- Language mandating that the Coast Guard complete a route study on the Chuckchi Sea, Bering Strait, and Bering Sea within one year as well as complete a route study on the Alaska Arctic coast within five years to help facilitate the movement of vessel traffic.
- Two coastwise endorsements for Alaska operators to support the state’s tourism industry.
- Clarifies conveyance of Coast Guard property at Point Spencer to be carried out in a timelier manner.
- Relief for small and uninspected passenger vessels rebuilt in the United States to allow domestic use along coasts.
- Establishing of a demonstration program through the Coast Guard to assess the feasibility of using unmanned aircraft systems for operations in the Arctic.